Lent 2023; Second Sunday of Lent
As we journey through Lent by steps toward the Passion of Jesus, our hearts must begin to sense the rejection and disbelief of the Scribes and Pharisees. At every event they, if anyone, should have understood who this was, reflecting the Messiah by his actions.
Each extension of his signs were visible enough to indicate this surely must be the Immanuel Isaiah, among many, who spoke about hundreds of years before. What was the sense of their prophecies? God’s mandate to take care of the sick, visit those in prison, feed the hungry, and care for the poor among them.
“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God, to comfort all who mourn.” (Is. 61: 1 - 2).
If all we attempt to accomplish the sacrifices of prayer, fasting, and alms-giving during this holy period of Lent, we will have missed the mission expected of us. Those among us who have much less than we do must be the crux of Lent. When we pick-up the strands of the left-over needs of even one brother or sister we are then living the life that Jesus set before us.
“Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: “ The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke highly of him, and asked,, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph? He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, Physician, cure yourself, and say, Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.” And he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.” (Lk. 4: 16 - 24). This rejection will carry over to his Passion and Crucifixion.
The scribes and Pharisees spent the entire mission of Jesus to upset his reason for coming to earth and his human brothers and sisters. No prophet is without rejection and disbelief. Following in his footsteps we who travel these 40 days will not be crowned because of our sacrifices but will stand in a line carrying our cross to be nailed to it for doing our part for the poor.
Ralph B. Hathaway